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October 16, 1995

IBM ABANDONS ITS SP2 SINGLE SYSTEM IMAGE EFFORTS

By CBR Staff Writer

Casting doubt on the company’s boasts that the thing could take over where its mainframes left off, IBM Corp has apparently shut down various projects to provide a single system image for its scalable parallel SP2 machines, something that Intel Corp and Unisys Corp already provide on their parallel processors. A single Unix command for 100 nodes is not always appropriate said Robert Greenberg, vice-president of Power Parallel systems development, RS/6000 division. He also pointed out that one failure in the operating system – still the area where most of the faults occur – could bring down the whole machine with a single system image. IBM does provide global devices and global IP numbers, and says that other systems management issues can be addressed by writing scripts. You don’t have to go into the kernel itself, he said. There is still debate over whether or not SP2s are being used for much real parallel work, or more often as a LAN in a can as competitors jeer. Greenberg said he could not tell, but did say that between 80% and 90% of users had opted to buy IBM’s interconnect switch with the SP2, suggesting that most were doing parallel work for at least part of the time.

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